Adriana Bergstrom (née Hernandez)
Santa Barbara, CA
Business founded: 2008
Adriana Bergstrom is a jack of many trades, as is evident in her business Adriprints, which sells fine art prints and knitting patterns. She also hand-crafts novelty fonts and sells them through MyFonts. She is a firm believer in the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and she clearly practices this.
What was the impetus behind starting your business?
In 2008, right before the U.S. economy tanked, my long-time partner accepted a job in Germany. We eloped, sold what we had, and moved to Munich without either one of us ever having spoken a lick of German. I was in a new country with no way to support myself or contribute monetarily. If my previous life as a scenic artist and printmaker taught me anything, it was how to be resourceful. I was without any of the tools to do printmaking, so I started sketching letters and drawing letterforms, then it was just a matter of trial and error and getting each glyph to translate digitally. Afterward, I had to learn the font-making software (TypeTool).
The story behind the knitting patterns is pretty straightforward: I love knitting, and I wanted an object that didn’t exist anywhere except in my mind. I had already created a schematic, written the main idea for my own garment, and figured I might as well share it. So I learned to write patterns using the styles and conventions I observed in my favorite existing ones. Read the rest of the article here.
Annie Howe Papercuts
Business founded: 2010
Annie Howe has always loved playing with paper. She worked in community arts for many years, creating and contributing to the Baltimore art community with large-scale puppetry and shadow puppets. “As my love for storytelling grew through this large medium, I found my focus as an artist shifting from large 3D objects to that of the smaller more intimate medium of paper,” Howe says, adding, “I spent years and years using a simple knife and blades to cut out elaborate shadow puppets with an organization called Nana Projects. One Christmas I decided I could try cutting paper as gifts for family and friends. The papercuts were a hit and I slowly started making more.” Here she tells us how she transitioned from a part-time paper obsession to full-time gig.
What was the process of starting your business?
Encouraged by friends I started seeking out places to sell my work from local restaurants, to shops and craft shows. As I began showing my work, people took an interest and asked me to do commissions and special projects. I was still working full-time so it was a challenge to really grow and get things done in the beginning. It would take me forever to get projects complete. Then the organization I was working for closed, and I had to decide if I was going to apply for another full-time job or pursue papercutting.
The holiday season was approaching and I decided to try and make it through doing craft shows, retail, and custom work. By making more time for my work I was able to grow my business into a full time job! Read the rest of the interview here.